Rule 6.615 Misdemeanor Traffic Cases

(A) Citation; Complaint; Summons; Warrant.

(1) A misdemeanor traffic case may be begun by one of the following procedures:

(a) Service by a law enforcement officer on the defendant of a written citation, and the filing of the citation in the district court.

(b) The filing of a sworn complaint in the district court and the issuance of an arrest warrant. A citation may serve as the sworn complaint and as the basis for a misdemeanor warrant.

(c) Other special procedures authorized by statute.

(2) The citation serves as a summons to command

(a) the initial appearance of the defendant; and

(b) a response from the defendant as to his or her guilt of the violation alleged.

(B) Appearances; Failure To Appear. If a defendant fails to appear or otherwise to respond to any matter pending relative to a misdemeanor traffic citation, the court shall proceed as provided in this subrule.

(1) If the defendant is a Michigan resident, the court

(a) must initiate the procedures required by MCL 257.321a for the failure to answer a citation; and

(b) may issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest.

(2) If the defendant is not a Michigan resident,

(a) the court may mail a notice to appear to the defendant at the address in the citation;

(b) the court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest; and

(c) if the court has received the driver’s license of a nonresident, pursuant to statute, it may retain the license as allowed by statute. The court need not retain the license past its expiration date.

(C) Arraignment. An arraignment in a misdemeanor traffic case may be conducted by

(1) a judge of the district, or

(2) a district court magistrate as authorized by statute and by the judges of the district.

(D) Contested Cases.

(1) A contested case may not be heard until a citation is filed with the court. If the citation is filed electronically, the court may decline to hear the matter until the citation is signed by the officer or official who issued it, and is filed on paper. A citation that is not signed and filed on paper, when required by the court, may be dismissed with prejudice.

(2) A misdemeanor traffic case must be conducted in compliance with the constitutional and statutory procedures and safeguards applicable to misdemeanors cognizable by the district court.